Getting Tired of Laptops

I’ve been using a laptop as my primary machine for years now. At least six but probably more like 8 or 10. The only time I use a desktop is when I use someone else’s computer. Mrs. T’s perhaps to play games. Or a computer in a public place. Most of the time a laptop is just fine. But lately it doesn’t seem fine.

Part of it is screen size but not completely. At home I have a 19 inch screen attached to my docking station. That helps a lot. I have a 21 inch LCD I need to make room for and that will be even better. Part of it is the keyboard. I’m seriously looking at plugging in a full-size USB keyboard. I feel constrained on a laptop. Lately it seems like the constraint on my fingers is leading to constrain in my brain. In any case it is starting to feel like too much work on the laptop keyboards.

Performance is not an issue for me and neither is memory or disk space. Four GB of RAM seems fine and I have lots of extra disk space. No it is the I/O. Hopefully the large keyboard and screen will help when I’m home.

Anyone else feeling like this or are you using desktop systems a lot? Or are laptops enough for you?

5 Responses to “Getting Tired of Laptops”

  1. B. Forst says:

    I have a docking station for my work laptop with a 19 inch flat screen monitor and a full size keyboard. I do have to take the laptop into other parts of my building because I primarily use it to access students’ grades while in meetings. I rarely type documents on the laptop keyboard while at work.
    I now have a laptop at home since my desktop went belly-up in Dec. 08. I am becoming more proficient.

  2. I love my laptop and while I keep thinking about getting a desktop, the reality is it would be a waste of money. I almost never sit at a desk. At home, I’m either in bed with my laptop or I’m on the couch with my laptop. Occasionally I sit at my desk (where I have a mouse, USB keyboard, and monitor), but mostly it’s a place for filing and piling things.

    I sit at my desk at work more often, but still not all that frequently. My computer goes to class with me, it goes to meetings with me, it hangs out in the staff lounge with me…

    Even though I’d like a bigger screen (but lighter weight to carry around), having a consistent experience is the most important thing for me. I like having all my files in the same place, having the same applications set up the same way… I like having the same experience no matter where I am.

  3. Philip says:

    I love notebooks – what a great model: More power than you need in a 4 pound package. A new generation of platform every 12 months. Portability yet all of the features you want – ports, DVD writer, high-res display, etc. BUT, i agree with you that there are issues.

    I have moved to smaller and lighter notebook (very highres screen, 4 GB, SSD, 5+ hour battery life) so that when I am mobile I am not lugging around a brick. But that leaves me with a small cramped device so I augment the notebook when I am in desk mode.

    My home office configuration includes:
    – An Apple USB keyboard – the best you can get IMHO
    – A wireless mouse
    – A jabra wireless headest (for skyping)
    – A large monitor (21″ Dell that can be portrait or landscape)
    – A color HP laser printer

    With this set of equipment, the notebook is my desktop. The Lenovo USB dock makes connecting in easy as pie.

    When I am on the road, I use a wireless mouse and a bluetooth headset.

    My issue is files and data. I have a 2 personal notebooks and a work notebook – getting the right file on the right machine is hard – I use MESH and love it but I need somewhere in the nature of 30 – 40 GB of storage to really
    move my data to the cloud.

  4. Kyle says:

    I’m strictly a desktop man; as far as I know, there is no laptop display in existence that can give me the size (24 inches), resolution (1980×1200), and wide gamut color reproduction that my HP LP2475w provides. I play a lot of games too, and even the shiniest of laptop video cards pales in comparison to the high-end desktop equivalents.

  5. Matt says:

    I’ve slowly come around to the laptop side of things, if only because I lug it between work and home daily.

    That said, I can’t bear to sit at a laptop and use it normally, unless I’m in the kitchen or somewhere where a computer wouldn’t normally be. At work and home, I have a second monitor that runs at 1920×1080. I use an external keyboard and mouse at work, and would do the same at home if I had a bit more desk real estate. My computer gets to be a highly-customized work space, and it would drive me batty if I had to try to keep everything in sync in two places at once.

    I’ve also endured enough power outages to appreciate that my laptop has a built-in 3-hour UPS. 😉 (And just the portability to bring it somewhere and show people things.)

    I do find the laptop limiting at times. I’m on an old Mac which won’t see more than 2GB RAM, which really isn’t enough for keeping up two web browsers, iTunes, e-mail, (work) IM, my IDE, and a development webserver running. In an ideal world, I’d also have VMs running for Linux (for testing server-y stuff) and Windows (for testing IE compatibility). A single, 5400rpm laptop hard drive is painfully slow, too. And you can never have enough monitors. Two things that, oddly, have not limited me — I don’t need any peripherals that can’t use USB, and I’m yet to be limited by using wireless. (Although there is a GigE NIC on board…)

    That said, I periodically toy with building a new machine. That would have to be a desktop, but maybe part of the problem is that you can’t really build a laptop yourself.

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